The command in Revelation 3:2 was address to the church of Sardis. Sardis was described as the “dead church” with the appearance of being spiritually vibrant externally but was spiritually lifeless. The Apostle Paul describes such people in 2 Timothy 3:5 (NIV) as “having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” Another example can be found in Matthew 23:27 when Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for having external beauty but being dead inside and exemplifying everything that is unclean. The Church of Sardis was like a well decorated funeral parlor containing beautifully adorned corpses.
Christ is presenting an opportunity to the church by issuing a three-fold commandment. The first part of the command was for them to wake up. Christ is calling them out from spiritual lifelessness and is renewing them. He is calling the Church to not only be alert, but calling them to action. The second part of the command is to strengthen. They are to strengthen their spiritual walk with Christ. Thirdly, they are to build upon what remains. Not upon the aesthetics of the physical church building but building upon their relationship, communication, service to God.
As we read further into Revelations 3, we learn that the few people who remained faithful in the Church of Sardis are promised a walk in Christ and to be dressed in white. Being dressed in white is a gift and honor that denotes those wearing it have been made just by God. In addition, their names would be written in the Book of Life. Similar to the faithful few in the Church of Sardis, we have an opportunity to strengthen and build up what remains